There is a student who comes into the Library quite often. He is pretty specific about what he wants. If I don’t have what he is looking for, he then asks for something different.
Today he came in and asked for a book about a prehistoric animal, the megalodon. We don’t have any on that particular animal, but I took him to the books we have on prehistoric animals (just 3 or 4) but they were not what he was looking for. He then asked for books on sharks (since the megalodon was a prehistoric one). He then asked for books on aliens, I showed those to him, again not what he was looking for.
He then wanted books on whales and I showed him what we had, but he wanted a book on Blue Whales. I don’t have specific books on species of whales.
He looked at them and then looked at me and said, “What I really want is a drawing book on how to draw whales.”
I have those!
I am beating myself up over this because we spent 20 minutes looking through different books and searching the catalog for things he didn’t want. I am reviewing what I asked him and I can’t find a different way to do what I did to get the original answer. Maybe if I had asked him what he wanted to learn about the megaladon, I could have found out he simply wanted a drawing book. But how often do we ask our patrons what it is they are wanting to learn?